May day, May day!
This is an important message for brethren,
specially if they feel they can become hostile
to each other!
Keep always in mind
the sixth commandment that says:
Thou shall not kill!
Today we invite you to meditate on the unfortunately too many biblical accounts dealing about hostile brothers. By reading them, have always in mind that the Bible is like a mirror in front of you and that it reveals your own portrait and how you look vis-à-vis the ten commandments of our Father:
"22But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." (James 1: 22-25)
Before going forward, I would like to address here a solemn warning to the majority among us and ask us to try all the means available to flee hatress and to learn how to really love, otherwise we will face the serious risk to flirt with the absurd world of being a killer or of the initiator of a war. It would be a sudden cut from the lover of the Bible and its Coming world.
The history of the first two brothers.
The first two brothers in history are Cain, the elder one, and Abel, his junior. Let us read the short account made by the Bible about the life of Abel in Genesis 4, verses 1 to 8 and by the way, please note that Abel is given to us as an example through his actions but the Bible did not keep any of his words:
"1 Now Adam knew Eve his
wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, "I have acquired a man
from Yahveh." 2Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel.
Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3And
in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the
fruit of the ground to Yahveh (Note: he did not offer the first fruits but unspecified
fruits from his harvest). 4Abel
also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And Yahveh
respected Abel and his offering, 5but He did not respect Cain and
his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.
6So Yahveh said to Cain, "Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."
8Now Cain talked with Abel, his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him."
Why did Cain become a killer? Jealousy was the engine that pushed him to commit this murder, because he was coveting the blessing of his brother! He was the witeness of the acceptance by Yahveh of Abel's offering and he would have loved to receive at least the same blessing if not more but he was not ready to make a minimum effort to improve his behaviour at the eyes of his Creator. Thus before committing his murder, the first in history, Cain already transgressed the tenth commandment which says:
"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's." (Exodus 20: 17)
Now, let us take the place of Cain, how would we have reacted? Where would you have stopped on the way to the murder? Have also in mind that in this precise case we would have in front of us Abel, the Righteous! But what if instead of Abel, we we would face a man or a woman showing a bad attitude, exciting more our desire of revenge or jealousy towards him or her.
This is the most important opportunity to put love above all and to seek ways to help our neighbour even if we are under the strong impression that his or her behaviour is extremely unjust. Jealousy should not dominate our behaviour and overwhelm our person. Jealousy is in this case a powerful source of destruction. Yahve is offering anyone a universal remedy and this remedy is absolute: if Cain had used it, he would not have become the first murderer in the history of mankind. This remedy is twofold:
· MOVE IN THE GOOD DIRECTION
· DOMINATE OVER SIN
Cain was not able to dominate over his sin, on the contrary, he became slave of the sin that led him to violate dramatically the sixth commandment that says:
THOU SHALT NOT KILL.
Yahveh, according to his own rules, could not leave this serious sin unpunished and read how He decided to punish Cain:
"10And He (Yahveh) said,
"What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me
from the ground. 11So now you are cursed from the earth, which has
opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12When
you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive
and a vagabond you shall be on the earth."
13And Cain said to Yahveh, "My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me."
15And Yahveh said to him, "Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And Yahveh set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.
16 Then Cain went out from the presence of Yahveh and dwelt in the
Please, have always in mind this punishment, as Yahveh will punish us for all our sins in the same way: what He did to Cain, He will also do to us because " He regardeth not persons" (Deuteronomy 10:17) and "God is no respecter of perons" (Acts 10:34)
Ishmael and Isaac.
Here are two other brothers whose story is also a valuable source of teachings for the believers. Ismaël has a visible defect we can discover in Genesis 21, verses 5 to 9:
"5Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6And Sarah said, "Elohim has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me." 7She also said, "Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age."
Hagar and Ishmael Depart
8 So the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the same day that Isaac was weaned.
9And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, whom she had borne to Abraham, scoffing."
Ishmael is mocker and makes fun of others! But such an attitude is not according to the taste of our Creator because it causes at the end the violation of one of the most important commandment of the Bible. This commandment is given in Leviticus 19: 18:
"18You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but
you shall love your neighbor as yourself:
I am Yahveh."
Ishmael did not follow this commandment with respect to the legitimate son and heir to Abraham and he was the origin of his rejection and that of his mother out of the camp of the descendants of Abraham, in the desert. The resentment between those who are still claiming today they are the spiritual descendants of Ishmael and the descent of Abraham via Isaac and Jacob always exist and even is at the origin of wars.
Esau and Jacob.
Here are also two brothers whose respective defects are at the origin of many misfortunes. Let us read chapter 27 of the book of Genesis to better understand what we should not do if we want to avoid a difficult life and to start a process of hate between human beings that can be prolonged through centuries:
"Jacob Receives Isaac's Blessing
1 Now it came to pass, when Isaac was old and his eyes were so dim that he could not see, that he called Esau his older son and said to him, "My son."
And he answered him, "Here I am."
2Then he said, "Behold now, I am old. I do not know the day of my death. 3Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me. 4And make me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die."
5Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt game and to bring it. 6So Rebekah spoke to Jacob her son, saying, "Indeed I heard your father speak to Esau your brother, saying, 7"Bring me game and make savory food for me, that I may eat it and bless you in the presence of Yahveh before my death.' 8Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to what I command you. 9Go now to the flock and bring me from there two choice kids of the goats, and I will make savory food from them for your father, such as he loves. 10Then you shall take it to your father, that he may eat it, and that he may bless you before his death."
11And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, "Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned man. 12Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be a deceiver to him; and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a blessing."
13But his mother said to him, "Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me." 14And he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and his mother made savory food, such as his father loved. 15Then Rebekah took the choice clothes of her elder son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16And she put the skins of the kids of the goats on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17Then she gave the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
18So he went to his father and said, "My father."
And he said, "Here I am. Who are you, my son?"
19Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn; I have done just as you told me; please arise, sit and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me."
20But Isaac said to his son, "How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?"
And he said, "Because Yahveh your Elohim brought it to me."
21Isaac said to Jacob, "Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not." 22So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau." 23And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau's hands; so he blessed him.
24Then he said, "Are you really my son Esau?"
He said, "I am."
25He said, "Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's game, so that my soul may bless you." So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. 26Then his father Isaac said to him, "Come near now and kiss me, my son." 27And he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him and said:
"Surely, the smell of my son
Is like the smell of a field
Which Yahveh has blessed.
28Therefore may Elohim give you
Of the dew of heaven,
Of the fatness of the earth,
And plenty of grain and wine.
29Let peoples serve you,
And nations bow down to you.
Be master over your brethren,
And let your mother's sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
And blessed be those who bless you!"
Esau's Lost Hope
30 Now it happened, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31He also had made savory food, and brought it to his father, and said to his father, "Let my father arise and eat of his son's game, that your soul may bless me."
32And his father Isaac said to him, "Who are you?"
So he said, "I am your son, your firstborn, Esau."
33Then Isaac trembled exceedingly, and said, "Who? Where is the one who hunted game and brought it to me? I ate all of it before you came, and I have blessed him--and indeed he shall be blessed."
34When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, "Bless me--me also, O my father!"
35But he said, "Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing."
36And Esau said, "Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!" And he said, "Have you not reserved a blessing for me?"
37Then Isaac answered and said to Esau, "Indeed I have made him your master, and all his brethren I have given to him as servants; with grain and wine I have sustained him. What shall I do now for you, my son?"
38And Esau said to his father, "Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me--me also, O my father!" And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.
39Then Isaac his father answered and said to him:
"Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth,
And of the dew of heaven from above.
40By your sword you shall live,
And you shall serve your brother;
And it shall come to pass, when you become restless,
That you shall break his yoke from your neck."
Jacob Escapes from Esau
41 So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, "The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob."
42And the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, "Surely your brother Esau comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you. 43Now therefore, my son, obey my voice: arise, flee to my brother Laban in
46And Rebekah said to Isaac, "I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, like these who are the daughters of the land, what good will my life be to me?"
In this story, the two brothers are to be blamed. On the one hand Jacob took an active part in the lie conceived by Rebekah to mislead Isaac and on the other hand Esau was full of hate and jealousy against his brother Jacob. Jacob paid this fault while having to move away from his family to go and live a servile life at the place of his cousin Laban.
On the other hand, Esau spent the rest of his life mostly in bitterness. He tried to please his parents by marrying a daughter of Ishmael but he could not change the blessing. And here too, after several centuries, the respective descendants of Esau (also called Edom) and of Jacob (alias Israel), became important nations who made wars and hated each others most of the time. Let us read for instance in Numbers 20, verses 14 to 21:
14 Now Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of
18Then Edom said to him, "You shall not pass through my land, lest I come out against you with the sword."
19So the children of Israel said to him, "We will go by the Highway, and if I or my livestock drink any of your water, then I will pay for it; let me only pass through on foot, nothing more."
20Then he said, "You shall not pass through." So
This hate continued at the time of the kingdom of Israel.
Joseph and his brethen.
The story of Joseph and his brethren is very sad as we are facing a plot linking most of Jospeh's brethren who were about to kill him. But at the end, they decided to sell him as a slave. Joseph was the son preferred by their fathe. Let us read this painful event in Genesis 37:
1 Now Jacob dwelt in the land where his father was a stranger, in the
Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brothers. And the lad was with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives; and Joseph brought a bad report of them to his father.
5Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. 6So he said to them, "Please hear this dream which I have dreamed: 7There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf."
8And his brothers said to him, "Shall you indeed reign over us? Or shall you indeed have dominion over us?" So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.
9Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, "Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me."
10So he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, "What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?" 11And his brothers envied him, but his father kept the matter in mind.
Joseph Sold by His Brothers
12 Then his brothers went to feed their father's flock in Shechem. 13And
So he said to him, "Here I am."
14Then he said to him, "Please go and see if it is well with your brothers and well with the flocks, and bring back word to me." So he sent him out of the
15Now a certain man found him, and there he was, wandering in the field. And the man asked him, saying, "What are you seeking?"
16So he said, "I am seeking my brothers. Please tell me where they are feeding their flocks."
17And the man said, "They have departed from here, for I heard them say, "Let us go to
18Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. 19Then they said to one another, "Look, this dreamer is coming! 20Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, "Some wild beast has devoured him.' We shall see what will become of his dreams!"
21But Reuben heard it, and he delivered him out of their hands, and said, "Let us not kill him." 22And Reuben said to them, "Shed no blood, but cast him into this pit which is in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him"--that he might deliver him out of their hands, and bring him back to his father.
23So it came to pass, when Joseph had come to his brothers, that they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. 24Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it.
25And they sat down to eat a meal. Then they lifted their eyes and looked, and there was a company of Ishmaelites, coming from
29Then Reuben returned to the pit, and indeed Joseph was not in the pit; and he tore his clothes. 30And he returned to his brothers and said, "The lad is no more; and I, where shall I go?"
31So they took Joseph's tunic, killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the tunic in the blood. 32Then they sent the tunic of many colors, and they brought it to their father and said, "We have found this. Do you know whether it is your son's tunic or not?"
33And he recognized it and said, "It is my son's tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces." 34Then Jacob tore his clothes, put sackcloth on his waist, and mourned for his son many days. 35And all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted, and he said, "For I shall go down into the grave to my son in mourning." Thus his father wept for him.
36Now the Midianites had sold him in
Now that you have read this atory, come back to yourselves and examine your thoughts. Joseph is preferred over all his brethren by Jacob, this is a strong reason to generate jealousy from his brothers although Joseph is not the direct cause of it but rather Jacob's behaviour.
Moreover, dreams given to Joseph ny Yahveh will further increase the jealousy of the brethren because these dreams are revealing Joseph's brilliant future as saviour of all his familiy! The jealousy became hate against Joseph and the next event was the last drop for its explosion.
Indeed Joseph was sent by Jacob to supervise his brothers and report about their bad behaviour.
The brethren did not follow the teaching given by Yahveh in the beginning to Cain, teaching that were part of their education. And instead of looking at themselves as they really are using the perfect mirror provided by the Bible, they prefer to see a mirage: a rotten Joseph that it would to delete from their memory.
And what about us!
We should seriously learn these lessons as too often, we behave like the brethren of Joseph. Each time we think badly about our family or our neighbours or when we openly and publicly criticize people, we follow the route of Cain, of Ishmail, of Edom or of the brethren of Joseph. We are acting as if we would them to disappear from our thoughts or to die in our mind.
Jesus Christ shows us clearly that such behaviour is a violation of the sixth commandment. Yahveh asks us as He asked Cain to dominate over the sin and to not become a slave of it. In other words, Yahveh asks us to stay free!
If we want to be part of the believers today and of the people who will be born in the Kingdom to come of our Father and Creator tomorrow, then the sixth commandment must be a living part of our body. This commandment is a safeguard for any Life on earth.
Jesus, when he was on earth two thousand years ago, tried to show His people and us the value of this commandment. This commandment means much more that not to kill! Indeed, this is hwat our Saviour says in Matthew 5, verses 21 to 26
"21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, "You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' 22But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, "Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, "You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire. 23Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny."
Our Saviour teaches us such behaviour because he wants to offer His Father people full of strength, able to create and also intended for eternity! And you should know what makes the strength of people intended to become a leader. Strength is growing when there is no selfishness and when consequently all the thoughts are turned towards the welfare of neighbours and the nation. Many nations who took leadership in the world are examples of such a behaviour but too often, they did not believe deeply in God. This lack of belief in God explains why they could not persist in the past and why they will not persist in the future. Indeed unions between people and nations, even if it becomes extremely powerful,like USSR or the US or the European Union will weaken as soon as, at a given time, it makes a shift and wanders from the way given ny the obedience to the natural commandments of our Creator. Such unions are expected to decline and disintegrate as written in Daniel's prophecy, chapter 2, verses 26 until 45:
"26The king answered and
said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, "Are you able to make known
to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?"
27Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, "The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. 28But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: 29As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. 30But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.
31"You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 32This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighsof bronze, 33its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
36"This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. 37You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all--you are this head of gold. 39But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. 42And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. 43As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. 45Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold--the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure."
The future nation of believers must undertake the process to build a perfect union between them that will be very well articulated to offer a maximum of freedom to each member. To become an active member of this eternal union, we must start with little steps: build first a very good relationship with the family and our brethren that must become a kind of miniature of the kingdom of our Creator. For instance, if one member of the family is blind and the other one is a lame, they do not have any reason to be jealous of each the other but on the contrary, they must help each the other, the lame one guiding the blind and the blind supporting the step of the lame one!
In the eyes of our Father, we all are like lames or blinds, but most often we do not yet realize that and it might be too late when we will see ourselves as we are in the mirror of the Bible: we will understand the number of crimes we have committed!
Let us act now and rather than to see and envy the others and to spend our time finding reasons to justify our criminal acts against our next, let us seek to help and compensate for our respective weaknesses. Let us aim at the perfection. Please learn how to bear with your neighbour whatever his defects are. This is the message of Paul in his epistle to the Romans, chapter 15, verses 1 to 7:
1 We then who are strong ought to bear with the
scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2Let each of us
please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification. 3For even
Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, "The reproaches of
those who reproached You fell on Me."[ 4For whatever
things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the
patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. 5Now may the
God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another,
according to Christ Jesus, 6that you may with one mind and one mouth
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us,
To the glory of God.